I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I listen to Disney music when I clean my apartment.
Yeah, I know, Disney movies are for kids. But sometimes I still feel like their songs just hit the nail on the head for me. I mean, have you ever stopped to really listen the lyrics? It’s easy to just recite the words from memory, but when you get down to it there’s a lot of really inspiring and grown up stuff in there.
Here a few of my favorite examples of Disney songs about adulthood:
I remember Daddy told me: “Fairy tales can come true.
You gotta make ‘em happen; it all depends on you.”
So work real hard, each and every day.
Now things for sure are going my way.
Just doing what I do,
Look out boys, I’m coming through!
I know this is a newer movie, but I love that Princess Tiana isn’t a “princess” in the traditional sense. This song reminds me that dreams do come true… but only through hard work and patience. As millennials we sometimes get lost because we take what we have for granted. We forget that life isn’t instantly picture perfect or the way it seems on TV. We can have what we want, but it’s going to take sweat equity to get there.
I wanna be a man, mancub
And stroll right into town.
And be just like the other men,
I’m tired of monekyin’ around!
I’ve always loved the soundtrack to the Jungle Book. A lot of the songs are fun and upbeat, even though they’re about a character who struggles to adapt to the challenges of his new surroundings. As a twentysomething I think I often feel a lot like that. I feel like I’m having fun, but that I’m struggling at the same time to get where I want to go. This particular song echoes the millennial challenge quite literally from Louie’s mouth to Mowgli’s ears: a child struggling to become an adult.
I will find my way, I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday, if I can be strong.
I know every mile, will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere, to feel like I belong.
This is one of my absolute favorite Disney songs. Which is funny, because I don’t actually like the movie all that much. But there’s something so inspiring about it. Hercules struggles to fit in as a character. For his entire life he’s felt like an outsider because he was adopted by mortal parents and different from everyone he knew. So many of twentysomethings feel that on an emotional level, if not a physical one. We feel different from our peers or like we aren’t fitting in. This song reminds me that challenging emotions and difficult days are worth getting through, that the distance is worth traveling to find a place that I truly belong.
And now these walls come crumbling down
And I can feel my feet on the ground
Can we carry this love that we share into the open air?
This isn’t a very popular song, but it came up on my Spotify playlist this morning and I’ve been thinking about the final lines of the song. When it comes to love, twentysomethings are known for putting up walls. In fact you could build a very dangerous drinking game for the number of times a contestant on The Bachelor has said they’re “guarded” with their emotions. But the fact is that we’re all afraid of being vulnerable. We’re afraid to put ourselves out there when we date, afraid to get our hearts crushed by those that we love. But this song kind of reminds me of the joy two people can feel when they do bust down the walls, when they start to feel all the love that surrounds them. Its more powerful than it sounds.
Look at me: you may think you see, who I really am
But you’ll never know me.
Everyday it’s as if I play a part.
Now I see, if I wear a mask I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart.
Mulan feels like the anthem of Disney movies for twentysomethings. It has an incredibly powerful story about a woman determined to protect her family and be acknowledged for her true self. This song is the epitome of that theme, even though it’s played very early in the film. When you grow up and move away from home or move to a new town, you’re given an opportunity to start over and be whomever you want. Sometimes that’s a good thing because it gives you the confidence you need to become your best self (aka “fake it till you make it”), but mostly you’ll come to realize that pretending to be someone you’re not just keeps you from being truly happy with who you are.
Got another example? A favorite song I missed? Let me know in the comments down below!